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Tuesday, June 19, 2012
June 19, 2012 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:36 PM :: 10326 Views :: Maui County News, Congressional Delegation, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

June 30 Deadline: Rail Funding Depends on New Transportation Bill

Rail: Full Funding Grant Agreement Requires Bus Cuts

PAYCHECKS HAWAII Rates the 2012 Legislators

Abercrombie Proclaims 'Hawaii Pollinator Week'

Act 101 Expands DoTAX Subpoena Power

Borreca: Closed Primary Preferable to Excluding Candidates

Borreca: The state Constitution even ensures an "open primary" system, stating "no person shall be required to declare a party preference or nonpartisanship as a condition of voting in any primary or special primary election. Secrecy of voting and choice of political party affiliation or nonpartisanship shall be preserved."

Not all Democrats, however, are that comfortable with "open primaries." The last five years have seen repeated attempts to close the primaries to only registered members of the various political parties.

Advocates of a closed primary say primary elections are for members of a political party to select candidates for the general election; therefore, only members of the party should vote in the primary.

Although Democrats even included the call for a closed primary as a platform plank, the needed constitutional amendment proposal has never been brought back before the voters.

Failing to regulate who can vote in a party primary, Democratic Party activists have instead tried to limit who can run as a Democrat.

This year's cause célèbre is Laura Thielen….

The important part is who is going to do the picking: the people or the fellows in the backroom.

Under a closed primary system, the party members vote, but in the system now with candidates having to get the nod from the Democratic Central Committee before they can get an exemption to run, the party can easily hand-select candidates….

It is one thing for Democrats to continue with their internal party squabbling, but to let the folks in the backroom hand-pick the candidates doesn't appear to show much confidence in the voters or the foundations of a democracy.

Related: Both Sides in Thielen Dispute Aim For Democrats-Only Primary Elections

read … Borreca

Democrat Kanoho Helm: “Party Wants to Dictate Who Can Run”

CB: "I have my own views on particular issues — I am who I am," explained Helm, nephew of Native Hawaiian activist George Helm, who disappeared at sea before Kanohowailuku was born. "If you run as part of a party, you kinda have to follow party guides and positions and work with certain people. I want to work with all of the people, not just the ones a party tells me to talk to."

Kanoho expands on that point in another Bentley video, Independent Thinking.:

"Like many of you, I have been a registered Democrat, and I share many Democratic values. But the Hawaii Democratic Party wants to control information and limit public input. The party wants to dictate who can run, who can win and how they vote once elected. It even wants to control who they talk too."

read … More Pushback

Short $150M: House Transportation Bill only Has $100M for Rail

CB: Honolulu rail planners are counting on $250 million from the federal government next year.

But if the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives has anything to say about it, the amount could be far less.

The House Appropriations Committee — the lower chamber's version of the body Hawaii Sen. Dan Inouye chairs in the Senate — will take up the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) funding bill at 10:15 a.m. Washington time Tuesday. The version passed out to the full committee by the THUD subcommittee would give Honolulu $100 million in Fiscal Year 2013 — $150 million less than Inouye had gotten through the Senate and President Barack Obama had requested in his original budget.

In all, the subcommittee recommended New Starts funding about $420 million lower than Obama's request. The subcommittee, chaired by Republican Tom Latham of Iowa, made its cuts to the appropriations bill June 7 but members had been mum about what changes were made. Neither Mazie Hirono nor Colleen Hanabusa are members of the subcommittee or the full Appropriations Committee. The subcommittee's markup report was made available online Monday.

UPDATE 6/19/2012 10 a.m. The House Appropriations Committee moved the transportation funding bill forward Tuesday without changing the level of funding for New Starts or Honolulu rail.

CB: Appropriations Committee Has No Extra Money For Honolulu Rail

Related: June 30 Deadline: Rail Funding Depends on New Transportation Bill

read … U.S. House Subcommittee Slices Money for Rail

Civil Beat Racializing Deedy Case?

CB: Deedy, a white male from Virginia, was in Honolulu last November as part of security detail to protect foreign dignitaries who were here for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference.

After a night of socializing with friends, Deedy went to a Waikiki McDonald’s where he shot and killed Kollin Elderts, a brown-skinned, multi-ethnic 23-year-old from Kailua.

Immediately after, protesters took to the streets decrying Elderts’ death and blaming APEC.

There was also speculation about the circumstances leading up to the shooting. Was Elderts bullying Deedy and his friends, using racial epithets to rile the visiting federal agent? Or was it Deedy who was the aggressor, asking Elderts if he wanted to get shot and escalating a verbal argument into one that ended in tragedy.

While part of this response was due to the highly charged atmosphere created by APEC, Deedy’s attorney, Brook Hart, argues in court documents that much of it can also be attributed to increased media scrutiny and underlying socioeconomic and cultural issues facing the people of Hawaii.

In a recent phone interview, he also noted that “some pretty strong anti-mainland, anti-haole sentiment” has arisen since the shooting.

“The case involves many aspects and they go well beyond the particular incident in McDonald's,” Hart said. “We have a strong and vibrant community of local folks who have very negative feelings about actions that the federal government have taken over the years and those might well be translated in animosity toward an agent of the federal government.”

Michael Green, the attorney representing Elderts' family in a civil suit against Deedy, disagrees with Hart's assertion, and says race hasn't become a legitimate factor in the case.

"He's trying to create any type of an issue that the thinks might help him at trial," Green said. "He's doing his job as a lawyer."

read … Can a White Federal Agent Who Killed a Hawaii Local Get a Fair Trial?

Star-Adv: Audit HI-5 Before Hiking Fees

SA: Too many questions are still outstanding on the management of the state's HI-5 deposit redemption program to justify boosting the handling fee, passed along to consumers, that helps pay the costs of running the recycling scheme.

At issue is whether the state health director will decide to increase the per-container charge by a half-cent to 6 1⁄2 cents. Of that amount, 1 1⁄2 cents are for the administration of the program, including the contract payments to recyclers to handle the redemption work. But it's anything but clear that the state has made the case to increase the costs of beverages for consumers, which in the end is what will happen.

At the very least, the state has not yet demonstrated that some of the accounting problems identified early on in the program have been corrected. In particular, the state needs a better means of rechecking that the amount of materials that are shipped out equals claims by recycling firms….

Lawmakers seem equally concerned. Last session, House Resolution 156 passed, pointing out that an increase in fee would add at least $5 million to beverage costs in Hawaii. In the measure, state representatives urged the auditor to complete the management and financial report on the program before any change in the fee is merited.

It's hard to argue with that. Passing on costs to consumers, absent critical facts, is not sound government practice, and some of the facts in this case have been absent for years.

CB: Seven Years Later, Bottle-Bill Audits Still Bottled Up

read … robbing us blind and asking for more

Mufi: My Poll Says I’m Waaay Ahead

CB: Hannemann’s campaign released internal poll results today showing a 16- to 18-point gap between him and Gabbard. Like his previous internal polls that showed 55- and 42-point margins, this one was conducted by Qmark….

(This means on Aug 11 we will finally have an opportunity to see if Qmark is just a rent-a-poll company or if they also do real polls. They are now going head-to-head with Merriman River.)

Full Text: Hannemann maintains solid lead in congressional race

CB: Poll - Stunning Turnaround In Hawaii's CD2 Race

read … Mufi Poll

Hirono Cites Debates as Example of ‘Taking Campaign to the People’

HR: Mazie is taking her campaign directly to the people.

Over the past week, Mazie wowed in three back-to-back debates, and clearly presented to the people of Hawaii why she would be the best candidate to fight for our keiki, our kupuna, and our families.

read … Hirono

Hirono Votes With Dems 98% of the Time

ILind: Hirono Votes With Dems 98% of the time, Case 90%….

read … Case & Hirono: Congressional voting records

Bus Rider Quits After 12 Years

ILind: Since the June 3 cutbacks, TheBus is a hideous experience: standing-room only, long delays, slow commutes, fresh graffiti every day marring the interiors of buses and bus stops and roaches crawling on the floors.

Tempers are flaring. Recently I witnessed a young woman shove an older woman for merely trying to squeeze through a packed aisle. Earlier this week, a man had to rudely push away people blocking an exit.

Mismanagement is further evidenced by the disappearance of ads in buses because bloated administration staffs do not have the energy to pursue other revenue sources. Businesses getting sales from riders will see fewer of us as I, for one, will now do anything to avoid using the bus, including staying home.

read … Bus Cuts

Lanai May be Sold by the End of this Week

MN: The island of Lanai could be under new ownership by the end of the week, according to Mayor Alan Arakawa.

Lanai's billionaire owner, David Murdock, put the island up for sale late last year. Arakawa said he's been kept in the loop on potential offers, and negotiations with a serious buyer seem close.

"They currently have someone that is interested, and I'm pretty sure that, one way or the other, the sale will close fairly soon," Arakawa said. "There may be something that happens by the end of this week, if it goes through."

The asking price is reportedly between $500 million and $600 million.

read … $500M

Buyer pursues Lanai

SA: Billionaire David Murdock and his company, Castle & Cooke Inc., are in discussions to sell Lanai in a deal that could alter the future of the former Pineapple Island and dramatically reduce Murdock's land ownership in Hawaii.

Castle & Cooke officials met with Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa late last week to say the company is talking with a buyer about a potential sale.

Abercrombie spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz and Arakawa confirmed the meetings. Arakawa said it was a "serious consideration" by Castle & Cooke that could result in a decision soon.

No one at the meetings would disclose the prospective buyer's name, though some people are speculating that the island would appeal to other billionaires with ties to the island, such as Oracle CEO Larry Ellison or Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates.

read … Speculation

KSBE to Redevelop Puck’s Alley?

SA A movie theater is envisioned to return to the site of the former Varsity Theater in Moiliili as part of a plan exploring retail and residential redevelopment on three parcels that also include Puck’s Alley.

Kamehameha Schools, which owns the three adjacent parcels, has engaged California-based retail center developer and operator Festival Cos. to solicit interest in the project.

Festival envisions creating a “new town center” for the area fringing the University of Hawaii at Manoa, with roughly 250,000 square feet of retail space including a theater on the three parcels in three-story buildings along with a seven-story residential building on the Puck’s Alley site.

Kamehameha Schools spokesman Kekoa Paulsen said no timetable exists for redevelopment, and that proceeding with plans could be years away, depending on the response Festival receives.

Related: Obama's Puck's Alley Drug Dealer Killed by Gay Lover, Cayetano on DBEDT Pick: “Dobelle thought Richard Lim was trying to intimidate him”

read … Den of Iniquity

John Carroll Recognized by Eagle Forum

HR: Former Hawaii state Senator John Carroll, who is a candidate for U.S. Senate, has once again been awarded the coveted Eagle Forum Award. Carroll first received this award in 2009. This year’s award is personalized by Eagle Forum founder, Phillis Schlafly to Carroll, “In appreciation for your dedicated work for God, Family and Country.”

read … Eagle Forum

VIDEO Prof Accuses Hinshaw, Apple of ‘Stealing Money from People of Hawaii’

VIDEO HNN: Much controversy has surfaced over Apple's large salary and Hinshaw's sabbatical pay, and it all came to a head during our interview with the executives today. A longtime professor at U.H. happened to be passing by and had a few choice words for university leaders.

Our interview with outgoing chancellor Hinshaw had just begun when we were interrupted. "This woman is getting a huge payback and now, she's getting hundreds of thousands of dollars!" shouted UH ethnics studies professor, Noel Kent. "$292,000 a year? This is a disgrace. This is a disgrace. You're stealing money from the people of Hawaii!"

Kent is a long-time professor at UH and says faculty and students are "demoralized" and "in despair" over what he calls astronomical executives' salaries. He's among critics who've questioned Hinshaw's 10 month sabbatical pay, as she leaves office, of almost $290,000.

He continued shouting at Hinshaw, "How do you justify a $292,000 a year?" UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl stepped in and escorted Kent away from the interview site, saying, "Sir, this is not the time." Kent replied, "This IS the time! No one else is talking about this. It's time we talked about this!"

read … Vision for School

NOTE TO CHIEF JUDGE Alex Kozinski of the 9th Circuit: you left out something in your letter to Senators Sessions and Grassley!

Gretawire: “…As you know, Circuit Conferences are authorized by law “for the purpose of considering the business of the courts and advising means of improving the administration of justice within the circuit. [citing 28 USC Section 333]“

I read the statute – 28 USC Sec 333 – and note that the statute says the Circuit MAY hold a conference. It is not mandatory. The fact that it is NOT MANDATORY was left out of this letter.

CN: 9th Circuit Rebuffs Hawaii Vacation Claims

read … Greta

Murderer Corbit Ahn Sues, Claiming Guards Arranged Jailhouse Beating

CN: HONOLULU - A pre-trial detainee claims in state court that three Hawaii state jail guards took him to a remote part of the Oahu jail and ordered 10 to 12 other inmates to beat and stomp him, which they did, leaving him for dead.

Flashback: MMA Murderer of Kalihi Girl

Full Text: Lawsuit

read … Jail Beating

Licensing Employee Get Prison for Selling Fake Drivers Licenses to Illegals

SA: In a plea agreement, Teruya pleaded guilty to one count of fraud for unlawfully producing a driver's license for an illegal immigrant who bypassed the written and driving tests. Seabright granted dismissal of three other counts in connection with the licensing scheme.

She worked at the satellite city hall on Dillingham Boulevard in Kapalama. Teruya was a licensing employee for five years before she resigned in March.

During sentencing, Seabright said Teruya's actions were a breach of trust as a public servant. Her actions put the safety of the public at risk by unlawfully producing licenses for individuals who bypassed the exams, he said….

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Song said her actions put lives in danger. Teruya committed the crimes to make a quick buck, he said.

"It was her duty to know the law and uphold the law," he said. "And she failed miserably."

In Chan Park, a driving instructor, arranged the scheme of getting driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. Teruya received a few hundred dollars for each license Park sold.

Park has admitted he accepted $2,000 from an individual interested in getting a fraudulent driver's license. He also admitted that he accepted an additional $5,000 from the same person who wanted to get a license for someone else.

read … Illegals

E-Cigs Not Covered by Smoking Regs

SA: Hawaii’s smoke-free workplace and public place law does not cover “e-cigarettes,” although officials hope users voluntarily follow the restrictions placed on cigarette smokers.

Specifically, Section 328J of the Hawaii Revised Statutes defines “smoke” or “smoking” as “inhaling or exhaling the fumes of tobacco or any other plant material, or burning or carrying any lighted smoking equipment for tobacco or any other plant material.”

E-cigarettes, according to the Food and Drug Administration, typically “are composed of a rechargeable, battery-operated heating element, a replaceable cartridge that may contain nicotine or other chemicals, and an atomizer that, when heated, converts the contents of the cartridge into a vapor. This vapor can then be inhaled by the user.”

“Because there is no tobacco in them, (e-cigarettes) are not covered,” said Julian Lipsher, chief of the state Department of Health’s Chronic Disease Management and Control Branch, which includes the Tobacco Prevention & Education Program

read … Drawing a Target on E-Cigs

House Passes CAPAC Chair Judy Chu’s Resolution of Regret for the Chinese Exclusion Act

HR: Today, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution introduced by Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), that formally expresses the regret of the House of Representatives for the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and other legislation that discriminated against people of Chinese origin in the United States. Congresswoman Chu’s bill, H. Res 683, is only the fourth resolution of regret in the past 25 years to be passed by both houses of the U.S. Congress.

read … Another Apology


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